As a consequence of the complex socio-political crisis that started in September 2002, Côte d'Ivoire has been experiencing a period of extended instability. The long-awaited November 2010 presidential elections intended to unify Côte d’Ivoire were deeply contested and resulted in political turmoil, causing violence and mass population displacement. An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people were temporarily displaced within the country and in neighbouring countries, and the whole country felt the impact of the economic and political instability. The western region has been the worst affected with the highest levels of violence sparked from the clashing of the two military forces, causing displacement and the destruction of public and private assets.
The post-electoral crisis further affected the food security and economic stability of the population. Households have become more vulnerable and less able to cope with shocks, while the ability of the Ivorian Government to respond to and rebuild from the crisis has been damaged. Although the major fighting stopped in April 2011, insecurity persists in the western regions of the country and criminality has increased, including a rise in violence towards women.
The WFP and FAO food security assessment conducted in July 2011 highlighted that food insecurity remains of concern in the western, southern and north-eastern regions due to the long stay of internally displaced people (IDP) in host families and the loss of harvests. The assessment showed almost 30 percent of the rural population is food- insecure. Rising prices of basic food commodities have also contributed to a decrease in household food security with monthly market studies undertaken by WFP and the Government’s Office of the Commercialization of Food Products (OCPV) showing an increase of up to 30 percent in the price of imported rice in the West for March 2012 and a 100 percent increase in the price of cassava, which is typically a lean season food.
Côte d'Ivoire is ranked 170 out of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index, which shows that over 23 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Primary school enrolment remains low at 50 percent and the country has West Africa's highest HIV prevalence rate at 3.7 percent. The July 2011 nation-wide nutrition survey conducted by WFP, UNICEF and the National Nutrition Programme of the Ministry of Health showed a national Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 5.4 percent, considered as 'poor,' with the highest rates reaching up to 7.7 percent in the northern and western regions. Chronic malnutrition rates exceed the critical threshold at above 40 percent in the North.
A report from August 2010 reviewing the trend in achievements of the MDG in Côte d'Ivoire showed that progress so far has been mixed. In particular, achievement in MDG1 has been slow as the country has suffered setbacks in the wake of several political conflicts.